The University of Rio Grande School of Arts and Letters will be hosting a series of summer studio classes through the Master of Education in Integrated Arts program this summer beginning Friday, June 1. The courses are available for area teachers for possible licensure renewal purposes. However, teachers would need to check with their local LPDC for prior approval and specific renewal requirements before taking the courses. Coordinator of Graduate Studies for the program Greg Miller said while these are courses for graduate students, he is excited for the opportunity to provide professional enrichment to local educators.
“We wanted to create an easily accessible location for teachers to earn necessary credits at a reasonable price. I believe as a university that offers master’s degree courses, we have a responsibility to make this kind of opportunity available,” Miller said. “Over the years, we have had several of our alumni ask to return and take classes throughout the semester for licensure renewal purposes.”
The series will consist of ten two-day courses offered with professors and guest artists. The classes will be led by a mixture of instructors including, Rio Faculty Gary Stewart and Dr. Vicki Crooks; community educators Jenny Walker and Larry Ewing; and guests instructors Loren Bucek of Columbus, Ohio, and Maria Gonzalez of New York City, New York. Miller said he is excited to have such a diverse group of leaders involved in the series.
“I always enjoy getting to interact with our guests and give our students a chance to learn from them. Being able to share their knowledge with our community as well is always a wonderful experience,” Miller said. “I’m grateful to Dr. Crooks and Professor Stewart for their eagerness to be part of this series. Bringing in the additional expertise of our community members and internationally known guest speakers is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.”
Course topics include music, visual arts, dance, classroom technology and theater. Crooks, an assistant professor of communications at Rio, will be teaching “Experiencing Theater” for the summer series. She said she is excited to combine her loves of theater and communication to show participants how acting can strengthen communication skills used in everyday life.
“I love theater and communication, and I’ve always felt they are a natural fit. Communication is about efficiently performing our roles in everyday life, and both subjects help students learn to be more comfortable giving presentations in front of an audience,” Crooks said. “Effective colleges are positive additions in their communities. This is why I think it is important to open studio classes, galleries, performances and other activities to the public. I think the techniques we teach relating to specific areas will benefit everyone because they still include those basic skills we use every day.”
The ten courses will run on various dates throughout June and July. Miller said spaces in the classes are limited, but anyone interested in more information on the program can contact his office at (740) 245-7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.